Integrating physical and mental healthcare

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Treating the Whole Person: Mental Health Integration

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By Jennifer Franklin, Chief Clinical Officer, Yoakum Community Hospital

Like many hospitals, Yoakum Community Hospital sees an uptick in patients receiving geropsychiatric services in winter. The holiday season is, therefore, a good time to talk about the mental health needs of this population. With the New Year approaching, it’s also a good time for hospitals to resolve to better address those needs, not just during the holidays but all throughout the year. Yoakum—a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital in rural South Central Texas—accomplishes this through integrated care, which...


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Rural Hospitals at Risk


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Rural Hospitals at Risk


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Social Determinants of Health

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Swimming Upstream: Meeting the Challenges of Social Determinants of Health

It’s been said that patients’ ZIP codes matter more than their genetic codes when it comes to health status. That’s because certain conditions in the places where people live, work, learn and play can pose greater health risks and poorer outcomes. In public health terms, these conditions are called social determinants of health or, sometimes, upstream determinants of health. Basically, the concept is that nonclinical factors influence health outcomes.

Scientific research has proven the concept holds. The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014 examined rehospitalizations based on patients’ place of...


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Strategic Marketing for Rural Hospitals

In today’s competitive healthcare market, rural and community hospitals are making do with less. Marketing resources are no exception. It’s not uncommon for smaller hospitals to lack a formal marketing communications function yet still engage in conventional and creative marketing activities. At other hospitals, marketing is one of multiple hats worn by a single person. Case in point: The public relations coordinator who handles marketing for Yoakum Community Hospital—a 23-bed critical access hospital in Yoakum, Texas—also serves as executive assistant and medical staff coordinator, for a total of three formal...


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Lessons for Leaders of Distressed Hospitals

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By Anthony Sudduth, CEO, Southwest Health System

Last year, Southwest Health System (SHS), in Cortez, Colorado, found itself in the midst of a significant financial crisis. The hospital had violated bond covenants associated with a $32 million building project, failing to meet the 80 days cash-on-hand requirement for four consecutive quarters. This violation triggered technical default, which could have led to bankruptcy and closure. Instead, SHS acted swiftly and decisively, becoming not a cautionary tale but a comeback story and an inspiration.

The SHS turnaround is a bright...


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White Paper

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Community Hospital 2.0

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John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

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Service Isn’t Seasonal: Give Back to the Community All Year Round

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By John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

The holidays are a time for giving and gathering. However, for hospitals, community involvement and giving back should be year-round priorities. This is especially true for hospitals serving small, tight-knit communities.

The CEO should set the example. For my part, as chief executive of Freestone Medical Center in Fairfield, Texas, I started simply by joining the Rotary Club. I’ve since found that each connection I make tends to create others, developing synergies that benefit both the hospital and the community. The...


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Will Community Hospitals Stand the Test of Time?

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Will Your Hospital Stand the Test of Time?

Rural Hospitals Must Take Action to Right Themselves

Time is of the essence for community and rural hospitals. Since 2010, 88 of them have shut down, with more closures to come. Immediate action is required to help others avoid the same fate. Employees, patients and rural communities depend on it.

An operational assessment is often the first step to improving a hospital’s prospects. This process evaluates strategy, operations, staffing, supply chain, revenue cycle and leadership with the aim of reducing costs and increasing revenue—the tried-and-true formula for financial solvency.

Operational...


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Community Hospitals Are Economic Engines. How Are You Fueling Yours?

Metaphors commonly used to describe community hospitals underscore their importance to the regions they serve. They’ve been called economic engines, cornerstones of the community, and, by Forbes, the “financial glue” that holds communities together. Community hospitals tend to be one of the top employers in town, so when one closes, there are more consequences than traveling farther for hospital care.

Still, community hospitals are closing at a dispiriting rate—87 shut down in 26 states from January 2010 to July 2018, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. Countless...


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